Section 51(1) of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 ("PAIA") requires all private bodies to compile and make available an information manual as further detailed in PAIA.

Section 51(4) of PAIA authorises the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development ("the Minister") to exempt any private body or category of private bodies from any provision of section 51 for such period as the Minister thinks fit.

In 2011, the Minister published a notice (GN 1091 of 30 December 2011: Exemption of private bodies from compiling manual (Government Gazette No. 34914)) exempting certain private bodies from compiling a manual. The exemption only applies until 31 December 2015. As of 1 January 2016, ALL private companies will be required to have a PAIA manual.

Penalties for non-compliance with section 51 are a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years (section 90 of PAIA).

Currently, private bodies that are not exempted in terms of the notice, fall into two categories; namely, those which (a) operate in specific sectors, with 50 or more employees; or (b) operate in specific sectors and have an annual turnover equal to, or exceeding, specific amounts. The particular sectors and turnover amounts are listed below:

Sector Turnover
Agriculture R2-million
Mining and quarrying R7-million
Manufacturing R10-million
Electricity, gas and water R10-million
Construction R5-million
Retail and motor trade and repair services R15-million
Wholesale trade, commercial agents and allied services R25-million
Catering, accommodation and other trade R5-million
Transport, storage and communications R10-million
Finance and business services R10-million
Community, special and personal services R5-million

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